Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Track and Field Fever

I stumbled on over to the old Dyestat website which ESPN destroyed re-branding it RISE.  It's a ghost town.  Three years ago Dyestat was the place to go and stay on top of high school track and field.  ESPN bought it and decided it needed a makeover and made it unreadable while making the amazing message boards unpalatable.  It's sad because I used to be able to tell you just about anything about the current state of high school track.  But right now except for Edward Cheserek, an outstanding Kenyan import running in New Jersey, I don't know much.

But I am staying on top of the college and pro scene and with the Olympics looming large in August it is shaping up to be an incredible year.  Over the weekend I watched the webcast of the great Payton Jordan meet at Stanford.  It's an event I had the chance to watch in person last year.  This year's showing was just as amazing and it produced one major surprise at 5000 meters.

The U.S. men's Olympic Trial races at 5000 and 1500 meters are going to be breathtaking.  First let's look at the 1500.  There are a half dozen men who could make the squad.  Leo Manzano showed great form at the Penn Relays running down the aging Bernard Lagat during the Distance Medley Relay.  Andrew Wheating is coming off an injury plagued 2011 but in my mind has the most pure talent in the event and should be a factor.

But the odds on favorite is World Championship bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz.  He has the kind of closing speed that's needed to be a factor at the Olympics.  Centrowitz skipped his senior year at Oregon just to prepare for this moment.

On the outside looking in could be 2008 Olympian Lopez Lomong.  But at the Jordan meet Lomong showed he could be a real threat at 5000.  And then there's Alan Webb.  He was the most promising American miler since Jim Ryun who fell off the face of the earth after setting the American record in the mile in 2007.  Perennial 1500 threat Bernard Lagat says he's sticking with the 5000 leaving David Torrence and collegian Miles Batty as two more darkhorses.

The 5000 lost a great one this week when Chris Solinsky said injuries would end his year before it even started.  But with the great Lagat a virtual lock that really leaves only 2 spots up for grabs.  I'd say three men will be battling for those slots.

I've already mention Lopez Lomong and despite a completely boneheaded move at Payton Jordan won a stunning 5000 at Stanford.  Clicking on the video is well worth the watch.  Then there's American 10000 record holder Galen Rupp who plans to try the Olympic double.  There aren't many who can match him in the U.S.A. in the closing stages of any race.

That means the odd man out is sub 13 performer Matt Tegenkamp.  He's an Olympic veteran who very nearly grabbed a medal at the 2007 World Championships.  Matt's 30 years of age and on the downside of a distinguished career.

Of course the odds are someone I haven't mentioned will sneak in and grab a spot at either 1500 or 5000.  We've got a couple of great U.S. meets in Eugene and New York City before the Trials get underway in late June.  What I wouldn't give to have 10 days to blow at Hayward Stadium watching the best track meet in the world, likely better than what the fans will see in August at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

No comments:

Post a Comment